I couldnt see Matthew McConaughey in the role of Mickey Haller, the quick-witted, rule-bending Los Angeles defense attorney in The Lincoln Lawyer. He didnt seem to possess the acting chops needed to portray a sharp, ethically-challenged defender of the unjustly, and justly, accused whose office is the back seat of his old Lincoln.
But I was wrong. McConaughey, surrounded by an excellent supporting cast, captures what mystery writer Michael Connelly was looking for in the character he created in his 2005 novel.
Connelly gives McConaughey his personal stamp of approval in a short DVD featurette in which the two men exchange questions and admiration.
Connelly also appears in a fine little documentary, At Home on the Road, getting behind the wheel of a car to show viewers some of the Los Angeles locations where The Lincoln Lawyer takes place. These include the L.A. Municipal and Superior court buildings and the county jail in Van Nuys, where Haller does much of his defense work, and Hallers apartment in the Hollywood hills.
He also explains how he got his inspiration for his novel while covering criminal trials for the Los Angeles Times and from reading the Southern California-based novels of Raymond Chandler, Joseph Wambaugh and Ross McDonald.
And he discusses why he put Mickey Haller in a car: Doing so, says Connelly, gave the character a certain amount of freedom and knowledge about this place. As a writer, he wanted readers to obtain a distinct flavor about what life in Los Angeles is like, and nothing does that better than a car.
Rango ★★★ A chameleon (voiced by Johnny Depp) comes to the rescue of a small town when hes lost in the desert.
Director Gore Verbinskis first venture into animation is a rootin tootin good time. It combines the cheesiness of spaghetti Westerns with the offbeat attitude of Blazing Saddles and delivers it all in a spectacular computer-generated form.
The Lincoln Lawyer ★★ 1/2
“Insidious” is a haunted-house tale in the Poltergeist mold a child in jeopardy, a mother (Rose Byrne) struggling to get her head around what may be happening, a father (Patrick Wilson) in denial.
One of the demons is wearing what looks like a Darth Maul Halloween mask. And the finale is a tad too literal and way too drawn out. But that doesnt spoil the spookiest and most entertaining horror flick since Paranormal Activity.
Arthur ★ 1/2 A slacker must choose between an arranged marriage or life without money.
Theres not enough liquor on the planet to obliterate the memory of this film, starring Russell Brand and Helen Mirren. This feeble remake is not just repugnant for its lack of humor, amateurish acting and lead-footed pacing, but its also an insult to the memory of Dudley Moore, who starred in the 1981 version.
| McClatchy Newspapers